Whilst the main focus of the blog is Fashion & Lifestyle, I hope you don’t mind that I take a few moments for my personal thoughts after a humbling encounter with someone less fortunate. Despite the fun, lighthearted and often frivolous undertone of the Wonderwool blog, from time to time, I’d like to share with you my reflections. Thank you!
I work in the heart of Singapore, a place of affluence and glorious skyscrapers. Where I work… the women wears heels that kill, bags that cost a few months’ wages and clothes that they buy on a whim. I deal with high net worth customers where money is of no issue to most.
Each and every day at where I work, there is a man who stands for hours outside my bank, selling lottery tickets. He can’t speak proper, he stands with a bowed leg and his hands are curved inwards; he has no control over all his movements. He motions others to buy from him, he tries to speak to the passersby but no intelligible words come out. Only short, staccato noises followed by erratic gestures.
I almost always buy a lottery ticket or two from him because there’s something about his plight that stirs my heartstrings. Today, as usual, I walked past him and as I walk, I tried to dig for a $2 note but I didn’t have any. All I had was coins, which probably amounted to a little more than $4. I passed him everything and he tried to tell me something in return, but what he tried to convey, my ears couldn’t fathom.
I stacked the coins onto his palm and he couldn’t move his arms properly, I could see that it took him much effort to reach out to take the coins from me. The coins dropped.
I immediately scampered to collect them back and put them back into his hands. Again, with much efforts, he tried to tell me something. Was it a “Thank you“? I am not sure because he couldn’t speak; again, only noises.
I walked away, feeling happy that I did a good deed today but my heart ached. I am not sure what is it about today’s encounter that bothered me so badly. Was it because my interaction with him wasn’t as brief as usual? Was it because I had a little more face time than our usual routine where I pass him the money and he passes me the lottery ticket?
I am not writing this to gain sympathy, or to prove how noble or philanthropic I am. I believe charity is an individual responsibility and conviction. There’s no need for me to let you know what’s my stance on it, neither do I need to evangelize its virtues. This incident, however, made me tear and wish that surely, with my blessings in life, there must be something I can do to help people less fortunate?
I am not a benevolent person (although I will work towards changing that!). I give to most beggars, I make the occasional donations and I try to help whoever I can. But I have 1001 reasons to not give my time, efforts or money – I’m not rich, I need the money, I don’t have time, I shouldn’t help others when I can’t help myself. At times, I am materialistic, hankering after new dresses, shoes, bags which I don’t need. I tell myself I deserve them, after all that’s what I work for? I, like most people, can be selfish, self-centered and at times, dispassionate.
But…, I do want to do something. Anything.